Edmonton QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson rips CFL for short weeks, citing player safety concerns

Courtesy: Edmonton Elks

Edmonton Elks’ franchise quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson is upset about his team having to play on only four days of rest this week, claiming he doesn’t believe the CFL’s head office cares about player safety.

“To me, it’s astounding that a league with nine teams can’t figure out how to not play on a five-day week. If this league cares anything about player safety, it shouldn’t happen. There’s plenty of ways to schedule this where no one plays on a five-day week. It’s kind of ridiculous and, again, a lack of leadership in the CFL. I think it’s clear there’s a lack of leadership all across this league. If we consider player safety at all, it shouldn’t be a thing,” the veteran quarterback told 630 CHED’s Dave Campbell.

“The people higher up don’t care about our health and safety. We have to do what we have to do to protect ourselves and to make sure we’re ready to go on Thursday and to put a good product out there and win a football game.”

The Elks lost to Toronto on Saturday evening by a score of 39-36 as Lirim Hajrullahu kicked a walk-off, game-winning field goal for the home side at BMO Field. On Thursday, after resting for only four days, Edmonton will visit Vancouver to take on the B.C. Lions, who have won back-to-back games over Calgary and Winnipeg.

This will mark the first of three short weeks for the Elks this season, though this is the only one that’s not a home-and-home. Edmonton will host the Redblacks on Sunday, Aug. 14 before visiting the nation’s capital on Friday, Aug. 19. Two weeks later, the Elks will visit Calgary on Monday, Sept. 2 before hosting them on Saturday, Sept. 7 for the annual Labour Day Classic rematch.

Edmonton is the only team in the league with three short weeks scheduled this season. Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal each have two, while Saskatchewan, Hamilton, and Ottawa each have one. The B.C. Lions are the only team with none.

This isn’t the first time Bethel-Thompson has taken a shot at the CFL’s leadership as he criticized commissioner Randy Ambrosie during the 109th Grey Cup festivities in Regina for the league’s handling of the Garrett Marino fiasco and a lack of marketing.

The two-time East Division all-star has thrown for 978 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions over three games this season, his first in the Alberta capital. He won the Grey Cup as a member of the Argonauts in 2022 before spending the following season with the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL, citing a desire to be closer to his family.

The Edmonton Elks (0-3) will visit the B.C. Lions (2-1) on Thursday, June 27 with kickoff slated for 10:00 p.m. EDT.